Skip to main content


Tarts and lawyers are the two oldest professions in the world. And both aim to please. But to please whom- Opinions may differ and notwithstanding legal semantics. We lawyers, like tarts, must please our clients, customers. By boycotting the courts we fail in our primary objective - getting relief for them. Besides one must consider the morality of members of a noble (if it is still noble) and one might say essential (certainly true of tarts, but debatable for lawyers) professions going on strike. It undoubtedly interferes and obstructs the course of justice. Well in the legal world when someone does that, he commits a contempt of the Court.

If history serves me right, strikes were unheard of in the pre-independence era. Apart from the calls given during the freedom struggle to boycott all institutions, including the courts, it was never resorted to. In independent India the first one was when Justice AN Ray superseded his three colleagues, after Keshvanand Bharti case, to become the Chief Justice of India. Since then strikes have never looked back. They are on the rise. It is not only the Indian population, which is on the rise.

We go on a strike, for every conceivable issue, irrespective of any issue being conceived. Are they proper? Do we achieve anything? I can't think of any reason for which a strike should be resorted to. We all know what was the impact of the first landmark strike of independent India when Indira Gandhi superseded Justice H.R. Khanna (due to the Habeas Corpus case decision), a judge in whose honour, according to the New York Times, a monument should be erected in every city. We, the lawyers, wanted to constitute an Independent Judiciary but instead of that laid down a sound foundation for strikes.

YV Chandrachud (Retd. Chief Justice of India) has occasion to say that legal system is on
'the verge of collapse.'
RS Pathak (Retd. Chief Justice of India) took some bite out of it,
‘... [It is] merely in a state of crisis.'
Two eminent judges may debate about it but the fact remains that the system, given the present state of affairs, if it has not done so already, will wither away. In Allen Vs Alfred McAlpine ,1968 (I) AllER 543, Denning rightly remarked,
‘Law’s delays have been intolerable. They have lasted so long as to turn the justice sour.’

True, neither strikes are the sole reason for delays nor will their abolition clear off the delays, but the first and foremost question is of the right mental attitude to tackle the problem. And we must begin with what we the lawyers can do- stop strikes.

I began this note with tarts. Let me end up with them. I am quite charmed by them. They never claim to belong to a noble profession. They are not hypocrites. If history is any witness then tarts do have gone on strikes, then why should we also.


Popular posts from this blog


Two areas are close to my heart, namely uniform civil code and population control. I had drafted bills in late 1990's before I was  offered judgeship. The bills were distributed in the Parliament at that time but before they could be introduced (whether as a bill from the public or as a private member bill) the Parliament was dissolved. 
The Central government has asked the Law Commission to examine the issue of implementing the  Uniform Civil Code in detail and submit a report. I thought of publishing the bill relating to Uniform Civil Code that I had drafted.


Sometime ago, there were headlines in the newspaper 'Night Drama that did not succeed'. Here is the story of a night drama that succeeded. 
Kalyan Singh was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Romesh Bhandari was the Governor. He,  illegally dismissed the Kalyan Singh Government on 21st February, 1998.  A writ petition was filed the smae night and he was reinstated. This is the only time that the a deposed head of a State was pput back in saddle by the court. Here is the account of the same. 
The writ petition at the Allahabad High Court was filed by Dr. NKS Gaur, an MLA from Allahabad North and Minister of Higher Education in UP, but for the sake of convenience, the case is referred as 'the Kalyan-Singh case'.  
During my tenure as a judge, it has been matter of speculation/ complaint how I became Additional Advocate General and why was this case entrusted to me. This is explained in Appendix-I to this article. In order to complete the picture, Romesh Bhandari's …


Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees right to the life and liberty. Right to move to the court to enforce Article 21 was suspended under Article 359 of the Constitution during internal emergency (1975-77). Soon a question arose if, in such a situation, a writ of Habeas Corpus is maintainable? ADM Jabalpur Vs Shiv Kant Shukla AIR 1976 SC 1207 : (1976)2 scc 521: 1976 UJ (SC) 610: 1976 Cr LR (SC) 303: 1976 CrL J 1945 (SC) (the Habeas Corpus case) dealt with this question. This article, written 20 years after the aforesaid case was decided, narrates about the incidents, lawyers and judges connected with that case and what has happened to them.
‘The time has come’ The Walrus said ‘To talk of many things:
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax-
Of cabbages - and kings-
And why the sea is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings’ Through the Looking Glass; Lewis Carroll